“The” mega-basins “are the symbol of a model harmful to peasants and our territories: productivist agriculture”

Tribune. In Poitou-Charentes, agro-industrial cooperatives are trying to get hold of water in order to prolong a mode of production that destroys living organisms and from which it is now urgent to be freed.

Ninety-three “mega-basins” including more than ten in the Marais poitevin – the second largest wetland in France – risk being erected in the next three years.

These enormous plastic-coated craters of five to fifteen hectares are the latest artifice of agro-industry to reconcile the increased scarcity of water resources and the maintenance of intensive irrigation.

In recent months, the movement woven patiently between inhabitants of the Marais poitevin and elsewhere, peasants and naturalists to put a stop to the mega-basin sites, has taken on a national boom. Saturday, November 6, at the call of Bassines Non Merci, the LPO, the Confédération paysanne and the Uprisings of the Earth, more than three thousand people and twenty tractors met in Mauzé-sur-le-Mignon (Deux- Sèvres), not far from a megabassine under construction prohibited from access to demonstrators.

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After having crossed fields, rivers and clouds of tear gas, the demonstrators collectively invested the site of another mega-tank, illegal and already condemned five times by justice.

Collective “disarmament” action

A part of the pumping installation which supplied this basin was dismantled by peasants. Once the crowd had climbed onto the embankment of the basin, an unblocking was carried out to put it out of harm’s way. This collective “disarmament” action was a call to reconsider ways of preserving and sharing water resources. It testifies to the assumed need, in view of the climate emergency, to use the tools of civil disobedience when “eco-friendly” projects come into force.

These huge plastic-coated craters of five to fifteen hectares are the latest artifice of agro-industry to reconcile increased scarcity of water resources and maintenance of intensive irrigation.

If we had to get there, it was also to respond, in the midst of COP 26, to a government which, behind its environmentally virtuous claims, finances 70% of these basins and of which the Minister of Agriculture Julien Denormandie claims that ‘they fill up with the “torrential rains” of winter. The piece of pipe brought back to the doors of his ministry after having been taken from the drilling of the basin, came to confront him with his lie or his incompetence, by materializing the fact that the basins are also filled and especially by pumping in groundwater.

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